Calf Investment Scheme budget increased to €4 million

Approvals will issue this week to applicants under the new Calf Investment Scheme, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed has confirmed.

In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the significant demand for this scheme, the minister confirmed that he has increased the scheme’s budget from the original €1.5 million to €4 million, to fully fund all eligible applications received.

The scheme supports investments for calf rearing and welfare facilities and some 2,500 farmers will be directly funded under the scheme.

Under the scheme, the minimum investment required is €1,000, excluding VAT, while the maximum investment is €7,500 excluding VAT.

A 40% grant aid is applied to applications meeting all the terms and conditions of the scheme, meaning the maximum grant for any applicant is €3,000.

The primary investment focus is supporting calf feeding systems such as computerised calf feeders, milk carts with mixer included and calf teat feeders.

When a farmer purchases one of these items, they were also eligible to receive support for the purchase of other items, such as calf milk heaters, calf forage/hay racks, calf meal troughs, calf feed barriers and calf pen dividers.

Government guidelines published on Saturday identify essential services that can continue to operate during the current phase of Covid-19 controls.

These include services provided in the agriculture area, involving farmers, farm labourers, farm relief service workers, and others involved directly or indirectly in crop and animal production and related activities (including veterinary services).

The minister also spoke in relation to his priorities for the agri-food and fisheries sector in response to the challenges of Covid-19.

He announced that guidance will be issued to marts on a “very limited range of essential services that comply with Government guidelines and do not require people to assemble”.

In addition, for the next two weeks routine departmental on-farm visits will not be taking place, unless required on a risk basis.